P.C. Prosecutor addresses bullying at AFHS



by Kurtis Workman
Press Staff Writer

Power County Prosecutor Ryan Petersen believes bullying in American Falls schools is much more pervasive than most people believe, and statistics seem to back up Petersen’s belief.

Petersen made a presentation at American Falls High School on Wednesday, April 17. Speaking to freshman, sophomore, and senior students Petersen touched on several types of bullying including: traditional or in-person bullying, cyber-bullying, and bullying with a sexual component.

Petersen presented several statistics about bullying. According to the nationwide studies used by Petersen 15 percent of students surveyed reported being absent because of being bullied. Ten percent had changed schools. Fifty percent of those surveyed claimed to have been the victim of some type of cyber-bullying. Nationally only 10 percent of students that are being bullied will tell a parent, and only five percent of bullied students will report it to law enforcement.

Petersen said he believed the percentage of students that report bullying in Power County is lower than the national average.

“I believe that because we are a smaller community there are even fewer reported cases of bullying here than in the schools used in these studies, but that does not mean there is less bullying,” said Petersen.

Petersen also spoke about some of the unique characteristics of cyber-bullying.

“Most cyber-bullying happens via cell phone, and females are more likely to be cyber-bullies,” said Petersen.

During the presentation Petersen made a pointed plea for students to take responsibility in reducing the level of bullying.

“Nobody here should be a bystander. If you are being bullied or if you know someone that is being bullied; talk to someone, talk to parents, teachers, administrators or law enforcement. Please talk to someone, and know you are not alone,” said Petersen.

Petersen outlined what the response would be from the Power County Prosecutor’s office if a student reports bullying activity.

“First I will talk to you, and find out what is happening. Next we will look for solutions. We will work with other agencies and the school to develop those solutions. Not every instance of bullying requires criminal action, but we will do what is just. Most importantly we will treat you as a friend,” Petersen said.

After the presentation Petersen said he was approached by school administrators about making the presentation.

“Vice Principal Travis Hansen asked my office to come out and speak to students. I was happy to do it because bullying is often a silent crime, and I want you to know there are resources out there to make things better,” Petersen said.

Petersen concluded his presentation to the students by describing the root cause of bullying. “All of these types of bullying have one thing in common. Bullying stems from a lack of respect. Let’s respect each other,” said Petersen.


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1 comment for “P.C. Prosecutor addresses bullying at AFHS

  1. Katrina Wardlow
    May 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

    My son was bullied horribly last year in AFHS, this year it has gotten some what better. The schools responce to the bullying was doing nothing but punishing him along with the gang of bullies when he finally stood up to them! My son was at the point of suicide because of it. This nice little click of bullies would send one after him, then if they got ‘talked to’ by school officials they would send another one of the ‘gang’ to bully him even more. I even begged to speak to the parents of the gang leader and was told by the pricipal, “Oh we can’t do that, they don’t speak english very well and work all day.” WTH?!?! I had to come to the school everytime there was an incident for my child, but they don’t because they don’t speak good english and work?

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